The Cincinnati Reds lose another one run game, and its starting to be a habit for this team.
First baseman James Loney hit a home run and right-hander Alex Cobb pitched seven shutout innings, lifting the Tampa Bay Rays to a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Cobb allowed only four hits through seven innings, with no walks and five strikeouts while throwing 87 pitches.
Reds right-hander Alfredo Simon allowed one run and five hits, with one walk and four strikeouts over a career-high eight innings.
The teams combined to go 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and strand eight runners.
The game’s only run came when Loney launched a 0-and-1 pitch from Simon some into the right field stands in the second inning.
Cobb retired the first eight batters he faced before shortstop Zack Cozart’s double in the third inning.
Cincinnati missed scoring chances in the fourth and sixth innings.
First baseman Joey Votto led off with a wind-blown ground-rule double to right field in the fourth. Second baseman Brandon Phillips followed with a single to center, but center fielder Kevin Kiermaier’s throw beat Votto home.
Phillips was thrown out attempting to steal third and right fielder Jay Bruce struck out to end the inning.
In the sixth, Cobb hit shortstop Zack Cozart with a pitch, Cozart stole second and reached third on Simon’s sacrifice bunt. But Cobb retired the next two batters to end the threat.
Simon, who retired 12 straight batters following shortstop Yunel Escobar’s second-inning double, kept the Rays offense at bay through seven innings with only 83 pitches.
Cincinnati’s defense helped Simon with fielding gems by Votto and Phillips in the fourth, and one by Cozart on Escobar’s grounder over second base in the seventh.
Third baseman Even Longoria’s diving stab of left-fielder Ryan Ludwick’s hard grounder ended the Reds’ seventh.
Right-handed closer Grant Balfour, who walked three to load the bases in the ninth inning on Friday before earning the save in the Rays’ 2-1 victory, minimized the drama on Saturday.
Balfour walked Votto with one out in the ninth. But he got Phillips to hit into a 5-4-3 double play to finish off his fourth save.
I have nothing else to say but, the Reds are 2-0 in avoiding potential series sweep from their opponents this season, so tomorrow they could breakthrough and win. First pitch for the final game of the series is at 1:10pm.